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Inorg Chem. 2015 May 18;54(10):4869-81. doi: 10.1021/acs.inorgchem.5b00448. Epub 2015 May 4.

Tailoring precursors for deposition: synthesis, structure, and thermal studies of cyclopentadienylcopper(i) isocyanide complexes.

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†Department of Chemistry, University of Bath, Bath BA2 7AY, United Kingdom.
‡Centre for Materials and Structures, University of Liverpool, Liverpool L69 3GH, United Kingdom.
§SAFC-Hitech, Power Road, Bromborough, Wirral CH62 3QF, United Kingdom.
∥NanoInvestigation Centre at Liverpool, University of Liverpool, Liverpool L69 3GL, United Kingdom.
⊥Chemical Crystallography Service, Department of Chemistry, University of Bath, Bath BA2 7AY, United Kingdom.


We report here the synthesis and characterization of a family of copper(I) metal precursors based around cyclopentadienyl and isocyanide ligands. The molecular structures of several cyclopentadienylcopper(I) isocyanide complexes have been unambiguously determined by single-crystal X-ray diffraction analysis. Thermogravimetric analysis of the complexes highlighted the isopropyl isocyanide complex [(η(5)-C5H5)Cu(CN(i)Pr)] (2a) and the tert-butyl isocyanide complex [(η(5)-C5H5)Cu(CN(t)Bu)] (2b) as possible copper metal chemical vapor deposition (CVD) precursors. Further modification of the precursors with variation of the substituents on the cyclopentadienyl ligand system (varying between H, Me, Et, and (i)Pr) has allowed the affect that these changes would have on features such as stability, volatility, and decomposition to be investigated. As part of this study, the vapor pressures of the complexes 2b, [(η(5)-MeC5H4)Cu(CN(t)Bu)] (3b), [(η(5)-EtC5H4)Cu(CN(t)Bu)] (4b), and [(η(5)-(i)PrC5H4)Cu(CN(t)Bu)] (5b) over a 40-65 °C temperature range have been determined. Low-pressure chemical vapor deposition (LP-CVD) was employed using precursors 2a and 2b to synthesize thin films of metallic copper on silicon, gold, and platinum substrates under a H2 atmosphere. Analysis of the thin films deposited onto both silicon and gold substrates at substrate temperatures of 180 and 300 °C by scanning electron microscopy and atomic force microscopy reveals temperature-dependent growth features: Films grown at 300 °C are continuous and pinhole-free, whereas films grown at 180 °C consist of highly crystalline nanoparticles. In contrast, deposition onto platinum substrates at 180 °C shows a high degree of surface coverage with the formation of high-density, continuous, and pinhole-free thin films. Powder X-ray diffraction and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) both show the films to be high-purity metallic copper.

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